Axios Pro Rata

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May 18, 2022

Top of the Morning

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Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

We've written a lot about venture capital tightening, tied to the stock market correction. Soon it may be time to discuss rapid descent.

Driving the news: Forge Global, which operates a private stock marketplace, reports a record amount of sell-side interest and a significant decline in trading valuations.

Volume: By sub-sector in Q1, the widest discrepancies between new sell-side and buy-side interest were in sales/marketing tech and data intelligence. The only two subsectors where buy-side > sell-side were industrial software and (just barely) blockchain.

  • Venture capitalist Jeff Richards last week tweeted: "I get a weekly 'Unicorn List' email of secondary shares available in notable companies (via a broker). On 10/4/21 there were 32 names. Today there were 103 names."

Valuations: Most companies continue to trade at premiums to their last private rounds, per Forge, but the gap shrunk from 58.2% in Q4 2021 to 24.1% in Q1 2022.

  • Moreover, it reports that the percentage of buyers seeking private shares at a discount in April rose to 64%, versus 43% in Q1 and just 28% in Q4 21.

What comes next: Down rounds. For the uninitiated (i.e., those who started following VC in 2011 or later), these are new primary funding rounds at a lower pre-money valuation to the company's last post-money valuation. They can be very painful for founders and employees.

  • Also, don't be surprised to see deal terms become much friendlier to investors.
  • It's worth acknowledging that only around 5% of all Q1 VC funding were down-rounds, per PitchBook, which is lower than historical averages. But don't be surprised to see that number rise fast, particularly given the aforementioned jump in discount requests on the secondary market.

The bottom line: Private markets have a reputation for following public markets, with a lag. Early data on VC secondaries, which live somewhere in between, suggests that the bill will indeed come due.


Illustration of a box that is emitting binary numbers
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Global Switch, a London-based data center operator, is expected to soon launch a formal sale process that could fetch more than $10 billion, per Bloomberg.

Why it's the BFD: Private equity and infrastructure fund interest in data centers isn't new, but macro economic instability could turn this auction into a feeding frenzy, given the sector's (relatively) predictable cash flows.

Sellers would include Chinese steelmaker Jiangsu Shagang Group and Chinese asset manager Avic Trust.

The bottom line: This would be the second major data center deal of 2022, following last week's announcement that DigitalBridge Group is buying Las Vegas-based Switch (NYSE: SWCH) for $11 billion. Last year saw large deals for CoreSite (by American Tower), CyrusOne (KKR/GIP) and QTS (Blackstone).

Venture Capital Deals

Thought Machine, a London-based B2B banking platform, raised $160m at a $2.7b valuation. Temasek led, and was joined by Intesa Sanpaolo, Morgan Stanley and insiders JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds Banking Group and SEB.

GreyOrange, an Atlanta-based warehouse robotics developer, raised $110m in Series D funding. Mithril Capital led, and was joined by BlackRock.

Modulr, a London-based embedded payments platform for digital businesses, raised $108m in Series C funding. General Atlantic led, and was joined by insiders Blenheim Chalcot, Frog Capital, Highland Europe and PayPal Ventures.

Masterschool, an Israel-based coding school network, raised $100m in seed funding. Group 11 led, and was joined by Target Global, Pitango Ventures, Dynamic Loop Capital and Ronald Cohen.

Infinitum Electric, a Run Rock, Texas-based developer of air-core motors, raised $80m in Series D funding. Riverstone Holdings led, and was joined by Alliance Resource Partners, Applied Ventures, Cottonwood Technology Fund, Chevron Technology Ventures, Aventurine Partners, Energy Innovation Capital and Ajax Strategies.

Vivun, an Oakland-based provider of buyer experience software, raised $75m in Series C funding. Salesforce Ventures led, and was joined by Tiger Global and insiders Menlo Ventures, Accel and Unusual Ventures.

Cornami, a Campbell, Calif.-based quantum encryption startup, raised $68m. SoftBank led, and was joined by Impact VC and Octave Ventures.

Instabug, an Egyptian mobile app feedback platform, raised $46m in Series B funding. Insight Partners led, and was joined by Forgepoint Capital, Endeavor and insider Accel.

Impartner, a Salt Lake City-based partner relationship management platform, raised $35m from CIBC Innovation Banking.

Arrived, a single-family rentals investment platform, raised $25m in Series A funding. Forerunner Ventures led, and was joined by Bezos Expeditions, Good Friends, Spencer Rascoff, Core Innovation Capital, Neo and PSL Ventures.

Heartex, an SF-based provider of data labeling software, raised $25m in Series A funding. Redpoint Ventures led, and was joined by Unusual Ventures, Bow Capital, and Swift Ventures.

UrbanFootprint, a Berkeley, Calif.-based urban planning software platform, raised $25m in Series B funding. Citi and Social Capital co-led, and was joined by 2150, A/O PropTech, Assured Guaranty, Dcode Capital, Valo Ventures and Radicle Impact.

🚑 Viasure Medical, an Irish developer of absorbable tech for percutaneous vessel closure, raised €22m in a first close of Series D funding (€54m total target) from backers like Fountain Healthcare Partners, Orchestra BioMed, LSP Health Economics Fund, Panakès Partners and Evonik VC.

Column Tax, a New York-based personal income tax software startup, raised $21.7m in Series A funding. Bain Capital Ventures led, and was joined by insiders Core Innovation Capital and South Park Commons.

LucidLink, an SF-based provider of SaaS for connecting creative teams, raised $20m in Series B funding. Headline led, and was joined by Top Tier Capital Partners and insiders Baseline Ventures and Bright Cap Ventures.

Pipedream, an SF-based app integration startup, raised $20m. True Ventures led, and was joined by CRV, Felicis Ventures and World Innovation Lab.

Legl, a London-based provider of law firm operations SaaS, raised $18m in Series B funding led by insider Octopus Ventures.

Claravine, a Lehi, Utah-based marketing data platform, raised $16m in Series B funding. Five Elms Capital led, and was joined by Grayhawk Capital, Next Frontier Capital, Peninsula Ventures, Kickstart Fund and Silverton Partners.

Tractian, a Brazilian machinery monitoring tech startup, raised $15m in Series A funding. Next47 led, and was joined by YC.

🌎 HowGood, a sustainability data SaaS, raised $12.5m led by Titan Grove.

UtilityAPI, an Oakland-based provider of data sharing software for electric utilities, raised $10m led by Aligned Climate Capital.

QuestBook, a funding platform for web3 developers, raised $8.3m in Series A funding. Lemniscap led, and was joined by Coinbase Ventures, Alameda Research, Dragonfly, Hashed and Polygon.

Optivolt, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of solar tech for shady areas, raised $8.2m in seed funding. Atlas Innovate led, and was joined by Impact Capital, Pure Ventures and City Light Capital., a Chinese developer of AI-generated fashion models, raised $8m in Series A funding. Hillhouse Capital led, and was joined by GGV Capital and GSR Ventures.

Parcl, a New York-based blockchain real estate investing platform, raised $7.5m from Fifth Wall, JAWS, IA Capital, Eberg Capital, Big Brain Holdings and Santiago Santos.

Circit, an Irish audit confirmation and open banking startup, raised €6.5m in series A funding co-led by Aquiline Technology Growth and MiddleGame Ventures.

Levatas, an Amityville, N.Y.-based provider of industrial workplace monitoring tech, raised $5.5m in seed funding led by Castellan Group.

🚑 EvolvedMD, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based provider of psychiatric collaborative care management services, raised a $5.4m in Series A funding co-led by Waterline Ventures and Conductive Ventures.

Glisser, a London-based hybrid meetings and events platform, raised $4.9m in new funding from Downing Ventures and Gresham House.

• Very Good Ventures, a New York-based Flutter app development consultancy, raised $3m in Series A funding from Celesta Capital.

• Pigeon Loans, a Miami-based P2P lending startup, raised $2.5m in seed funding. FundersClub led, and was joined by 305 Ventures, Ascendo VC, Dhuna Ventures and Pareto Holdings.

Gopuff, the Philadelphia-based instant delivery company, received a new investment from former Disney CEO Bob Iger, who will serve as an advisor to the company.

Whill, a maker of motorized wheelchairs, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Toyota’s Woven Capital.

Kunlun, the chipmaking affiliate of Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU), is seeking to raise over $300m in new funding at a $2.5b valuation, per Bloomberg.

Private Equity Deals

🚑 Alliance Pharma, a Malvern, Pa.-based CRO backed by Ampersand Capital Partners, agreed to acquire British bioanalytical business Drug Development Solutions. As part of the deal, KKR will become an equal shareholder with Ampersand.

Beauty Industry Group, a Salt Lake City-based portfolio company of HGGC and L Catterton, acquired Bellami Hair, a Chatsworth, Calif.-based maker of hair enhancement products.

Candle Media, the Blackstone-backed media rollup led by ex-Disney execs Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer, is acquiring ATTN:, the digital media company that focuses on social change content for millennials and Gen Z, for about $150m in an all-cash deal, as first reported by Axios.

Carousel Capital acquired Quality Automotive Services, a franchisee of Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations in the Southeast and Midwest.

DT One, a Singapore-based B2B digital micropayments company, raised funding from Apis.

🚑 Frontline Healthcare Partners invested in JoyBridge Kids, a Mt. Juliet, Tenn.-based ABA therapy provider.

🚑 Humana (NYSE: HUM) and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe formed a second joint venture to invest $1.2b behind 100 new primary care clinics for older adults.

KKR acquired a majority stake in Alchemer, a Boulder, Colo.-based provider of customer experience solutions.

🚑 National Medical Billing Services, a St. Louis-based portfolio company of Aquiline Capital Partners, acquired Medi-Corp, an revenue cycle management business specializing in anesthesia, ASCs and pain management.

Pathlock, a Flemington, N.J.-based provider of access governance solutions for business apps, raised $200m led by Vertica Capital Partners. It also acquired both Appsian, a Dallas-based provider of ERP data security solutions, and Security Weaver, a San Diego-based provider of GRCM software for SAP.

Positron Voyager, an LA-based VR entertainment company, secured funding from JB Capital.

Power Dot, a Portuguese EV charging station operator, raised €150m from Antin Infrastructure Partners.

S4 Capital acquired TheoremOne, an LA-based tech consultancy, and plans to merge it into fellow portfolio company Media Monks.

Tiugo, a Boston-based portfolio company of PSG, acquired CKSource, a Polish provider of rich text editing and document collaboration software for developers.

Public Offerings

🎉 Happy 10-year anniversary to the Facebook IPO, which fizzled fast due to Nasdaq tech glitches. Shares priced at $38, compared to yesterday's $202.62 close.

Celsius Network, a Hoboken, N.J.-based crypto lending startup, said its mining unit filed confidentially for an IPO. The parent company has raised nearly $1b from firms like WestCap Group, CDPQ and Tokentus.

Westar Group of Malaysia is considering a Kuala Lumpur IPO of its helicopter services unit, which could raise at least $300m, per Bloomberg.

SPAC Stuff

Appreciate, the parent company of single family rental marketplace Renters Warehouse, agreed to go public at an implied $416m enterprise value via PropTech Investment Corp. II (Nasdaq: PTIC), a SPAC formed by Hennessy Capital.

Marti, a Turkish e-scooter and bike-sharing company, is in talks to go public via Galata Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: GLTA), per Bloomberg. Marti has raised $27m from firms like BECO Capital, Endeavor Catalyst and Autotech Ventures.

✈️ Surf Air, a subscription-based "all you can fly" airline for business travelers, agreed to go public at an implied $1.42b enterprise value via Tuscan Holdings II (Nasdaq: THCA), a SPAC formed by InterPrivate Capital, and to acquire Southern Airways. Surf Air, which tried to IPO a couple of years ago, raised around $90m (plus got a PPP loan), from firms like Velos Partners, IVP, NEA, ff Venture Capital and Base Ventures.

zSpace, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of VR and AR tech for the education market, agreed to go public at an implied $195m enterprise value via Edtech Holdings Acquisition (Nasdaq: EDTXU), a SPAC formed by IBIS Capital. ZSpace raised around $117m from firms like Artiman Ventures and Gulf Islamic Investments.

Liquidity Events

Brex, an SF-based corporate credit card company focused on startups, closed a $250m employee tender. The company was most recently valued by VCs at $12.3b.

🚑 Edgewater Funds and JZ Capital Partners are seeking a buyer for Technical Safety Services, a Berkley, Calif.-based provider of lab compliance solutions, per Axios Pro.

GTCR hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer for Ultimus Fund Solutions, a Cincinnati-based mutual fund services firm, that could fetch around $2b, per Barron’s.

More M&A

Experian (LSEL EXPN) agreed to acquire a 51% stake in MOVA, a Brazilian credit assessment fintech, for around $8m.

🚑 Healius (ASX: HLS) is seeking a buyer for its day surgery business, which could fetch around A$500m, per The Australian.

India’s government may sell up to a quarter of state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum, after failing to secure a buyer for the entire company.

Q2 (NYSE: QTWO), an Austin, Texas-based banking software provider with a $2.4b market cap, has received takeover interest, per Bloomberg.

✈️ Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) received flight attendant union support for its proposed merger with Frontier Airlines (Nasdaq: ULCC), which is being challenged by a hostile takeover bid from JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU).


• Andreessen Horowitz raised $600m for its first gaming-focused VC fund.

• Clearlake Capital Group raised more than $14.1b for its seventh fund.

• F7 Ventures, an early-stage firm led by ex-Facebook execs Kelly Graziadei and Joanna Lee Shevelenko, raised $50m for its debut fund.

Fortis Digital Ventures raised $100m for a new crypto finance VC fund.

🌎 Generation Investment Management, the PE firm co-founded by Al Gore, raised $1.7b for its fourth “sustainable solutions” fund.

🚑 HealthQuest Capital raised $675m for its fourth VC fund.

Jungle Ventures of Singapore raised $600m for its fourth fund.

Tusk Venture Partners raised $140m for its third fund.

It's Personnel

Kapil Venkatachalam joined FTV Capital as a partner. He previously was with TCV.

Eric Vincent joined 10T Holdings, a growth equity firm focused on digital assets, as a partner and president. He previously was president of Sarissa Capital Management, a healthcare-focused activist investor.

Christine Winslow joined Grafine Partners as a managing director. She previously was director of private equity at PGGM.

Building Ventures promoted Heather Widman to partner.

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